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World Punjabi Conference …. Fakhar Zaman

Lahore Declaration

A one-day national conference on Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabi Language & Culture was held in Lahore under the auspices of World Punjabi Congress. Lahore declaration was unanimously approved by the participants which is as follows:

1-           Despite the efforts of WPC directed towards the recognition of Punjabi language at the primary level, the Punjab government has not taken any steps. It was, therefore, demanded to make Punjabi language as a compulsory subject at the primary level.

2-           There is a dire need of establishing first ever Punjabi University as repeatedly demanded by WPC. The Punjab government has not shown any cooperation in this respect which is deplorable. It was therefore demanded in the conference to establish a Punjabi University in Lahore.

3-           Over 10,000 M.A Punjabi degree holders are unemployed and they have suffered for years at the hands of anti-Punjabi bureaucracy and the criminal neglect of Punjab government.

4-            The gathering condemned TV channels to ignore Punjabi language and show Punjabi culture in a derogatory way.

5-           Punjabi newspapers and journals are denied the proper quota of advertisements by the federal and provincial information departments.

6-           The financial assistance to the Punjabi literary bodies is negligible and needs to be enhanced atleast 10 times.

7-           There is a need to promote cultural affinity among the provinces that important universities of the four provinces should teach the languages of all the provinces.

8-           The curriculum at the college and Master degree level of Punjabi language is faulty, reactionary and bereft of contemporary Punjabi writings. A mafia of non-Punjabi writers or retrogressive Punjabi writers are preparing the textbooks at the college level. At the university level, the curriculum has got to be changed radically because it denies the true essence of Punjabi heritage, culture and contemporary writings which are essentially forward-looking. It was suggested that a high-level committee should look into the outdated syllabi and affect radical changes commensurate with the sensibility of progressive Punjabi writings. WPC should be consulted in changing the curricula at different levels.

9-           All languages in Pakistan should be declared the national languages of Pakistan. Those national assembly members who voted against the language bill in the house should be condemned.

They lack wisdom, vision and historical perspectives.

10-          There is a great need to use the social media and the internet and online facilities for the promotion of Punjabi language and culture. Similarly, the English translations of contemporary Punjabi writings should be circulated on the internet.

11-         The attitude of publishers is condemnable in respect of publication of Punjabi books. It was urged that they should give more facilities and financial impetus to Punjabi writers.

12-         Punjabi film is on decline and proper steps should be taken by the federal government to give financial impetus and other concessions to the filmdom.

13-         There is a tendency on the part of our Punjabi writers that they are mired in the usage of archaic words and they prefer the purist tendencies. Punjabi language has to have new visions, new diction, modern idioms, metaphors and similes and sensibility. If Punjabi is to be popularized and make it acceptable to those resisting it, the Punjabi language should be such which can be easily understood by all shades of society. The tendency to project Punjabi fundamentalism has to be discouraged. The outdated, hackneyed expressions should be replaced by new vocabulary which is not retrogressive because Punjabi language and culture’s revivalism is not the need of the hour because it will do harm to the popularization of Punjabi language and culture at all levels.

It was also unanimously decided by the conference that WPC will continue to strive for these objectives till they are achieved.

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